Pug Facts Guide

Our Guide Answering the Question: Are Pugs Smart?

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Are you thinking of purchasing a pug as your new puppy? If so, you’ve probably got tons of questions about this breed of dog. You might be wondering –  are pugs smart? Plenty of rumors are out there claiming that pugs are not the most intelligent of dogs. 

There may even be some data to back it up, but we will show you that pugs can be smart animals. Read our guide to learn all about the intelligence of pugs and better decide whether this breed of dog is right for you and your family. 


Study on Pug Intelligence


So, are pugs smart or are they somewhat ignorant creatures? 

According to one study conducted by canine psychologist Stanley Coren, researchers found that the obedience and working intelligence of pugs fell below average or “fair.” In this study, the pugs ranked 108th out of a total of 138 different purebred dog breeds. 


are pugs smart


However, there are certain limitations to this study. For instance, it only measures one aspect of a dog’s overall intelligence. This involves obedience and the ability to learn a new command. In addition, mixed breeds were not included in this study, and only AKC or Canadian Kennel Club-recognized breeds were allowed to enter this investigation.

Therefore, one study with a couple of flaws may not be the full answer to our question. 


Top Reasons Why Pugs Are Intelligent


Well then, are pugs smart dogs? We will demonstrate why pugs are potentially intelligent creatures. A trained pug can be a fast learner, and their silly appearance does not mean they’re unintelligent. 

Three particular skills can outline the type of intelligence among various dog breeds. These are:

  • Instinctive intelligence
  • Working intelligence
  • Adaptive intelligence

Instinctive intelligence relates to the skills that a dog is usually bred for. This includes breeding for hunting or skills linked to being a good retriever. Working intelligence relates to dogs that can be trained quickly to do tricks and behave well. Adaptive intelligence, however, is all about how well a dog learns from its mistakes.

Below, we outline how pugs have excellent adaptive intelligence as well as numerous other reasons showing why pugs are smart.’


High Adaptive Intelligence

Pugs have high adaptive intelligence, which means they can learn to solve problems by themselves as well as learn from prior experiences or mistakes. Then, they change their behavior to align with what they learned.

This is an important part of intelligence, but it is not easy to measure adaptive intelligence over a short-term period. There are plenty of pet owners who have pugs and claim that they’re very smart dogs. 

The Pugs’ flat faces lead their brains to be oxygen-deprived, which may also affect their intellect. Nonetheless, they are capable of forming memories and learning from their mistakes.


They Are Easy to Train

Are you still wondering, “Are pugs intelligent?” You don’t have to wonder any longer. Pugs are mostly easy to train since they attempt to please their pet owners and make them happy.

However, you will need to be aware that pugs are stubborn canines, and it will take you a while to get them trained or to learn new tricks. Since they’re stubborn, pugs are clever and can get what they want at times. Nonetheless, these dogs love to make their owners satisfied by learning new tricks to show off.

Researchers have found that pugs have an average ability when it comes to learning new tasks. Therefore, you shouldn’t have much trouble training them as long as you remain patient.

You should use positive reinforcement training, such as through food/treats and toys once they perform a trick correctly. It might take a bit longer to train a pug, but with positive reinforcement, you’ll see it’s not too hard to train a pug. 


Pugs Have High Emotional Intelligence

Pugs have a high amount of emotional intelligence and are generally meek and tame, which makes them a good addition to any family. 

Pugs are bred for companionship, and emotional intelligence is where they really shine the most. Pugs are very loving and loyal dogs that exhibit plenty of emotional intelligence and sensitivity.


Highly Adaptable to Their Environment

Pugs tend to adapt to the environment around them and will quickly get used to a new home. Due to their adaptability to the climate around them, pugs are usually calm and well-mannered pets.

Furthermore, pugs are a wonderful addition to any type of family and home environment, as they are friendly with anyone and everyone. 

Pugs are great with children and are gentle even around small kids. Since pugs don’t need too much exercise, they are a good pet for the elderly. Pugs are very friendly and loving dogs that can adapt to any place they’re located.


are pugs smart


Pugs Try to Make Their Owners Happy

Pugs are all about attempting to please their owners and make a family happy. In fact, Pugs try to remember what you like and what you dislike, so they can adhere to the rules of the house and ways to satisfy you by performing tricks.

Pugs are a very loving dog breed because they enjoy getting attention and getting food from you. There are numerous ways that pugs will try to make their owners happy and show their love, such as:

  • Napping with you
  • Doing a happy dance or smiling your way
  • Bringing you gifts or their favorite toys
  • Staying by your side
  • Licking or kissing your face


In Summary – Are Pugs Smart?


Now that you’ve read through our detailed guide, you should have a good idea about the intellect of the pug breed. These dogs may not have instinctive intelligence, but they have an average amount of working intelligence and a great deal of adaptive intelligence.

They will often learn from their mistakes and become smarter over time. As such, you will enjoy having a pug join your family. Whether you have kids or an elderly grandmother living with you, pugs are a great addition to any type of family.


rachael barkzine

About the author

Rachael is the co-founder and editor at Pug Facts. Owner of one elderly Pug, she’s dedicated to helping other Pug owners create healthy, happy, lives with their furry best friends.

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PugFacts is a small team of devoted PUG owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your pup! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.

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Expert tips, advice, and inspiration to keep your PUG healthy and happy

PugFactsGuide is a small team of devoted Pug owners – so we understand what it’s like to be obsessed with your Pug! We consult with veterinarians and dog behavior experts to bring you the best advice for your furry companions.